In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera’s Sami Zeidan, President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives unveiled his vision for the nation’s foreign policy, shedding light on a significant shift in the Maldives’ stance towards foreign military presence and its international relationships.
During the interview, Muizzu’s responses to a series of questions touched upon the country’s foreign policy, India-Maldives relations, and the presence of foreign troops on Maldivian soil, notably Indian troops. The key points from the interview paint a vivid picture of the Maldives’ evolving foreign policy under his leadership.
Muizzu’s commitment to protecting the national interests of the Maldives was evident. He emphasized that the current foreign policy no longer serves the people of the Maldives, underscoring the need for a recalibration to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty.
A central topic of discussion was the presence of Indian troops in the Maldives. Muizzu declared that his government’s main priority is the removal of all foreign troops from Maldivian soil as quickly as possible. He stressed that the Maldives has a long history of peace, without foreign troops on its territory, and the continued presence of foreign military forces is a significant concern for the public.
Muizzu was clear in his stance on foreign relations, stating that the Maldives aims to maintain neutrality and does not seek to engage in military cooperation or entanglements with larger countries to balance out relationships. He asserted that the Maldives wants to be neutral and avoid establishing military cooperation that could compromise the nation’s sovereignty.
When discussing international relationships, President-Elect Muizzu expressed a clear commitment to a “pro-Maldives” policy rather than a “pro-China” policy. He assured that the Maldives would maintain friendly relations with any country that respects its sovereignty and reiterated that foreign countries should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Maldives.
The interview also touched upon addressing issues from the previous government, including concerns related to corruption and the allocation of funds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Muizzu affirmed his commitment to a responsible government that would thoroughly investigate these matters.
In a time of transition and evolving foreign policy, President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s statements signal a significant shift in the Maldives’ approach to international relations, reinforcing the nation’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty and national interests.